Your Health Abroad
If you or a U.S. citizen loved one become seriously ill or injured abroad, we can:
- Assist in locating appropriate medical services.
- Inform your family or friends, with your permission.
- Help transfer funds to the U.S. citizen overseas.
We do not pay medical bills. Payment of hospital and other expenses is the patient’s responsibility.
You can find lists of doctors and hospitals in the country you are visiting on the U.S. embassy or consulate websites.
Before you go abroad, learn what medical services your health insurance will cover overseas. If your health insurance policy provides coverage outside the United States, remember to carry both your insurance policy identity card as proof of insurance and a claim form.
Although some health insurance companies pay “customary and reasonable” hospital costs abroad, very few pay for your medical evacuation back to the United States. Medical evacuation can cost more than $50,000, depending on your location and medical condition. For more information, visit our website for Insurance Providers for Overseas Coverage.
In general, health care you get while traveling outside the United States is not covered by Medicare. In rare cases, Medicare may pay for inpatient hospital, doctor, ambulance services, or dialysis you get in a foreign country. Visit Medicare.gov for more information.
Senior citizens may wish to contact Medicare, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) or a travel agent for information about foreign medical care coverage with private Medicare supplement plans.
Travel Insurance vs. Travel Medical Insurance – There’s a Difference
- Travel Insurance insures your financial investment in your trip. Typically it covers such things as the cost of lost baggage and canceled flights, but it may or may not cover costs of medical attention you may need while abroad.
- Travel Medical Insurance covers costs of medical attention you may need while abroad.
- Bring an ample supply of medication to cover you for your trip, and if possible, a few extra days in case there are delays.
- Carry a letter from the attending physician that describes the medical condition and any prescription medications, including the generic name of prescribed drugs.
- Keep medications in their original, labeled containers.
- Check with the foreign embassy of the country you are visiting or transiting to make sure your medications are permitted in that country.
It is estimated that thousands of U.S. citizens travel abroad for medical care each year. Medical tourism includes cosmetic surgery, dentistry, and other surgery procedures.
U.S. citizens considering travel abroad for medical care should:
Vaccinations Are Required for Entry to Some Countries
Some countries require foreign visitors to carry an International Certificate of Vaccination, also known as a Yellow Card, or other proof that they have had certain inoculations or medical tests before entering or transiting their country. Before you travel, check the country information and contact the foreign embassy of the country to be visited or transited through for current entry requirements.
Planning and Preparing for a Pandemic
Although pandemics occur infrequently, planning and preparing for a pandemic is important to ensure an effective response. For more information about pandemics, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
U.S. citizens may not be able to travel internationally during a severe pandemic because travel may be restricted to reduce the spread of the virus. For example, governments may close borders suddenly and at times, without advance warning; commercial air, land, and sea carriers could suspend some or all services; and some countries may even quarantine people who appear sick. These developments could indefinitely delay your travel to the United States, another country, or another region.
Last Updated: September 13, 2018